From the Bomb First Impressions/Look - Dragon Age II

 



 
 
When they announced the second Dragon Age, I had hope that there's going to be some sort of import feature like what they did in Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 but as they announced that it's not a customizable character albeit a named as well as voiced main protagonist named Hawke, I was quite disappointed and such. The idea of having your character from Origins imported to this sequel would be amazing, just like what they did in Awakening and what you did impacted characters, story and such that in that expansion, they would respond to what you previously accomplished either good or bad or in between.  
 
Recently, as a number of Road Trip Quick Looks suggested, Brad Shoemaker gets a play Dragon Age II demo and interview Mike Laidlaw, Lead Designer of DAII. My first impressions from looking at that Quick Look is that they had changed the art and graphical inference as well as HUD. Origins has a unique look compared to this, it's a tad darker and gritty and from I saw from it is light and doesn't even look that appealing at all, it feels generic of what Mike is showing, a dwarven stronghold underground. The textures and graphics looks bland and I don't really see a improvement in this game that looks better than Origins. The blood splatter that you always get on any enemy including ghost type (which is very weird) just looks the same. The character design is also something not to be astounded with, it looks like they polish the character better but compared to Origins, I don't really see changes.  There's only one new enemy you get to fight with in this demo but the others such as the Shade and Abomination is from Origins and didn't look good at all even the new design. The fire effects of the boss they last fight with looks similar to the effects in Origins making it pretty disappointed that they didn't care to make it dated to 2011 not 2009.  
 

 It's like what they did with Diablo III with the colour-palette

 
The gameplay and combat had changed drastically, feeling more like an action adventure like Fable than in Origins - it's more sped-up probably more easier to handle and maneuver your party and more stream-lined as well as probably less WoW-like. As Mike described, it's less ordering and maneuvering awkwardly and more jump into the action more. Which I felt disappointed with, sure they made it more streamlined like they did with Mass Effect 2 as more of a shooter-oriented game but making it more like Fable and Mass Effect 2 loses the appeal of pausing and planning attacks or so. Though he also said that the maneuvering is less frustrating than in Origins and if you do something like stealth kill a enemy, the character will do it immediately rather than you ordering him/her to go behind the enemies' back and do a sneak attack making it quite a improvement. This is one improvement that I'm excited for.  Also the fact that this demo is for the 360 and hopefully it's much more different in the PC version.. perhaps.
 
The techtree like the combat has changed, unlike Origins, the techtree is like a web branching out through different paths and choosing your desired ability which can also lead to a upgrade option to improve that ability. Which sounds promising and has the potential to customize your abilities. Tactics is the same as the first one which it should be. Customization with gear is also the same.   
 

 Icons Indicating Karma

 
The conversation trees on the other hand is different, they introduced some sort of karma/tone icons letting you know if you rather want a diplomatic, supportive, suave or aggressive as well as what actions on that conversation you are going for and noticing it without screwing it up. It's more like Mass Effect 2 with the coloured letters but more handicap meaning that it might be more easier to not screw up unlike Origins where sometimes you can screw up what you say or the actions you take.  And the fact that the wheel (shown above image) is way too similar to Mass Effect 2.
 
 Which reminds me of something, character interaction with your party members was crucial to Origins, it's not only based on your karma level, it's also the reputation of a party member and based upon what actions you'll be taking, it will either say this character approves/disapproves (i.e Morrigan disapproves of you helping the town from abominations and wanted you to just go to the castle) but since they didn't talk much of character interaction and the impact in the party, I won't assume anything.  Also like what they did in Mass Effect 2 with having companion quests, if it hopefully returns in this game that like Origins, affecting the storyline and improve your party member's gear.  
 
Though like Origins, there will be constant rambling that will probably ensue in hilarity but party members will comment on throughout conversations in key moments making it more active as like an adviser type-oriented than in the first game. Here's one of the hilarious banters by Dog, Shale and Leliana
 
  
  
 

Dragon Age II is pretty close to release and they are now just fixing bugs and glitches as well as balances on the gameplay on characters and a better framerate. And here's the Quick Look "Road Trip" of Dragon Age II 
 
  
6 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by RelentlessKnight

 



 
 
When they announced the second Dragon Age, I had hope that there's going to be some sort of import feature like what they did in Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 but as they announced that it's not a customizable character albeit a named as well as voiced main protagonist named Hawke, I was quite disappointed and such. The idea of having your character from Origins imported to this sequel would be amazing, just like what they did in Awakening and what you did impacted characters, story and such that in that expansion, they would respond to what you previously accomplished either good or bad or in between.  
 
Recently, as a number of Road Trip Quick Looks suggested, Brad Shoemaker gets a play Dragon Age II demo and interview Mike Laidlaw, Lead Designer of DAII. My first impressions from looking at that Quick Look is that they had changed the art and graphical inference as well as HUD. Origins has a unique look compared to this, it's a tad darker and gritty and from I saw from it is light and doesn't even look that appealing at all, it feels generic of what Mike is showing, a dwarven stronghold underground. The textures and graphics looks bland and I don't really see a improvement in this game that looks better than Origins. The blood splatter that you always get on any enemy including ghost type (which is very weird) just looks the same. The character design is also something not to be astounded with, it looks like they polish the character better but compared to Origins, I don't really see changes.  There's only one new enemy you get to fight with in this demo but the others such as the Shade and Abomination is from Origins and didn't look good at all even the new design. The fire effects of the boss they last fight with looks similar to the effects in Origins making it pretty disappointed that they didn't care to make it dated to 2011 not 2009.  
 

 It's like what they did with Diablo III with the colour-palette

 
The gameplay and combat had changed drastically, feeling more like an action adventure like Fable than in Origins - it's more sped-up probably more easier to handle and maneuver your party and more stream-lined as well as probably less WoW-like. As Mike described, it's less ordering and maneuvering awkwardly and more jump into the action more. Which I felt disappointed with, sure they made it more streamlined like they did with Mass Effect 2 as more of a shooter-oriented game but making it more like Fable and Mass Effect 2 loses the appeal of pausing and planning attacks or so. Though he also said that the maneuvering is less frustrating than in Origins and if you do something like stealth kill a enemy, the character will do it immediately rather than you ordering him/her to go behind the enemies' back and do a sneak attack making it quite a improvement. This is one improvement that I'm excited for.  Also the fact that this demo is for the 360 and hopefully it's much more different in the PC version.. perhaps.
 
The techtree like the combat has changed, unlike Origins, the techtree is like a web branching out through different paths and choosing your desired ability which can also lead to a upgrade option to improve that ability. Which sounds promising and has the potential to customize your abilities. Tactics is the same as the first one which it should be. Customization with gear is also the same.   
 

 Icons Indicating Karma

 
The conversation trees on the other hand is different, they introduced some sort of karma/tone icons letting you know if you rather want a diplomatic, supportive, suave or aggressive as well as what actions on that conversation you are going for and noticing it without screwing it up. It's more like Mass Effect 2 with the coloured letters but more handicap meaning that it might be more easier to not screw up unlike Origins where sometimes you can screw up what you say or the actions you take.  And the fact that the wheel (shown above image) is way too similar to Mass Effect 2.
 
 Which reminds me of something, character interaction with your party members was crucial to Origins, it's not only based on your karma level, it's also the reputation of a party member and based upon what actions you'll be taking, it will either say this character approves/disapproves (i.e Morrigan disapproves of you helping the town from abominations and wanted you to just go to the castle) but since they didn't talk much of character interaction and the impact in the party, I won't assume anything.  Also like what they did in Mass Effect 2 with having companion quests, if it hopefully returns in this game that like Origins, affecting the storyline and improve your party member's gear.  
 
Though like Origins, there will be constant rambling that will probably ensue in hilarity but party members will comment on throughout conversations in key moments making it more active as like an adviser type-oriented than in the first game. Here's one of the hilarious banters by Dog, Shale and Leliana
 
  
  
 

Dragon Age II is pretty close to release and they are now just fixing bugs and glitches as well as balances on the gameplay on characters and a better framerate. And here's the Quick Look "Road Trip" of Dragon Age II 
 
  
Posted by ZombiePie

Beautifully formatted and wonderfully written blog about your first impressions for Dragon Age II! I have yet to play Dragon Age: Origins because I have never been a fan of high fantasy role playing games, but good blog nonetheless.

Moderator
Posted by Tebbit

Is it so wrong that this game isn't on my radar at all? I know it should be, I want it to be, and yet... here we are.

Posted by RelentlessKnight
@Tebbit @ZombiePie Thanks for reading my blog! 
Posted by mosdl

I just reached 30 hours in my first playthrough of Origins, and I agree with your impressions.  Hopefully some PC footage comes out soon.

Posted by Little_Socrates

I'm getting into DA: O on the PC in a week or two, but I played a bunch of it on the PS3. I'm personally not going to miss the slower pace or the old conversation style, as seeing exactly what your character was going to say in the old system made me see options my character might not be aware of, and it actually was less immersive than the conversation wheel. The icons are maybe a little pandering, but they're an interesting take of avoiding this situation.